The year’s begun on a solid note for composer and singer M.M. Keeravani, known to Hindi films as M.M. Keeravani, with the 80th Golden Globe award for Best Original Song with ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR, the Critics’ Choice award by the American-Canadian Critics’ Choice Association (CCA) and an Oscar nomination for the 95th Academy Awards. As a full-fledged score, he has also won the LAFCA (Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association) trophy as well. And three more nominations are pending—all from US!
Golden Globe-winning composer MM Keeravani opens up on how film music has evolved; says, “I had to consciously maintain the difference between North Indian and South music, but not anymore”
Recognizing this humongous talent who has composed music for around 250 films in 5 languages over 32 years, the government of India has also conferred the Padma Shri on him. Ask if all these honours were expected, and the composer-singer replies affably, “I don’t expect anything. I just do my work. Expectations only lead to despair and disappointment!”
The composer has also delivered solid aces in Hindi—Mahesh Bhatt’s Criminal and Zakham, Sudhir Mishra’s Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahin, Tanuja Chandra’s Sur, Pooja Bhatt’s Jism, Amol Palekar’s and Shah Rukh Khan’s Paheli.
When we met many years ago, he had stressed on how his Hindi music (“Unlike that of my colleagues down South”) had nothing Southern in tenor or texture, while his South Indian scores were totally unlike a Hindi film score. M.M. Kreem stated, “I have been a Binaca Geet Mala since childhood. Among the composers, I have a special regard for Madan Mohan-ji. I know what I must do.”
So with his cousin, filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, stepping into Hindi-Telugu and more multilingual films like the Bahubali franchise and now RRR, how does he approach the music of such films?
Says Kreem candidly, “Not just music, but we have to divide even movies and arts as before 2G and 3G and after them! Earlier, I had to consciously maintain the difference between North Indian and South Indian music, but not anymore. Just imagine a truck-driver delivering goods from Kashmir to Kanyakumari today. As he drives for four days, he now passes through so many states and listens to all kinds of songs on the way—Bengali, Marathi, Western, Egyptian, Christian devotionals, South Indian and so on. He has now got attuned to global music. So there is no need to maintain a particular regional texture anymore! And I call Bahubali and RRR World Music.”
And the way things have gone, he is right.
Also Read: Trivia Tunes: From ‘Naatu Naatu’ composer MM Keeravani seeking insights to Naushad needing special presidential access and the origins of the track ‘Chhoti Si Yeh Duniya’, here’s Bollywood music trivia for the month
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